Ace Indian Tennis player Yuki Bhambri, who had to go out of action following a knee injury in October 2018, looked all set to return to competitive games when he was seen making steady strides in February, earlier this year.
“It was tough. Every other day was a different sore body part initially,” Bhambri was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
However, the coronavirus pandemic induced a nationwide lockdown in late March and thus his return got delayed further. But he was allowed to use the Tennis Court in New Delhi in July, and that was when he started practicing once again.
The 28-year-old is now eyeing the Australian Open in February 2021 as the tournament that will mark his return to competitive sport once again. Bhambri can enter the draw through his ATP-protected ranking. He was ranked 100 in the ATP rankings at the time he got injured in Antwerp.
Bhambri isn’t completely pain-free yet but he has still a number of days remaining to become as fit as possible.
“End of January or early February would be a realistic target of coming back. The Australian Open would be a shot,” Bhambri said.
“I’m finally getting closer to 100% where I can train at a higher level and play at a good level. It’s about doing it consistently, knowing that if I can do it day in and day out then I’m ready to play matches and tournaments. I expected to be better sooner, but it’s been slow progression.”
The suspended tournaments due to the pandemic did give Bhambri extra time to recover without missing major events but it also messed up his training and recovery process a lot. It was difficult for him to work on his rehab while he was in New Delhi with his Doctor sitting back in Spain.
“It was more challenging just to be able to show how much progress I’ve had, where I’m at and whether what I was doing was correct or not. When you’ve been out for so long and you’ve had a different kind of treatment, it’s important that you get the guidance even on the smaller things. Doing that over Zoom and Skype is not the same as physically being there,” he continued.
However, the former junior World No.1 hasn’t lost hope. He is looking forward to some good time ahead on the tennis court without any intervention, neither by injuries nor by a global pandemic.